A TOWN college is one of six education providers collaborating in a bid to become the first Institute of Technology in the Solent.

Eastleigh College and five other further and higher education providers are collaborating with Solent University in a bid to become the first Institute of Technology (IOT) in the Solent LEP region.

The proposal, led by Solent University to create an IOT specialising in digital technologies, engineering and marine has been selected to progress to the final in a second government-led competition.

The first competition saw twelve IOTs set up across the UK with eight more set to be appointed in the second wave.

The institutes will specialise in delivering higher technical education at Levels 4 and 5, with £120 million to be shared amongst the winners.

Proposals were invited from any local enterprise partnerships (LEP) areas that are currently not covered by an IOT.

The Solent bid focusses on the provider’s maritime links with core employer partners and highlights how a new institute would contribute to the development of the globally leading Solent maritime cluster.

Paul Cox, Chief Executive and Principal, Eastleigh College, said: “We have a strong working relationship with our academic and employer partners and the DfE’s decision to shortlist this collaboration validates all of our collective efforts.

“The prize now is to be able to offer even more specialist technical education to help close skills gaps in these important areas.”

Brockenhurst College, Fareham College, Havant and South Downs College, Isle of Wight College and the University of Portsmouth are also collaborating on the bid.

Professor Karen Stanton, Solent University Vice-Chancellor, added: “Institutes of Technology aim to deliver technical knowledge, combined with the practical skills demanded by employers – values that are already embedded across Solent as we ensure all our students are ready for a successful future.

“We hope to be able to deliver these benefits to many more learners and offer further opportunities for education and growth across our community.”

The IOT status will be awarded to eight winners by the DfE later this year.

contact me

t: 07701 314275

e: timothy.edgley